There are many rewards associated with military service and education is one of them! From the day enter the service you will be trained on many things and in the process you will learn what you are capable of doing and you look at challenges in an entirely new way: Something to achieve!
Education is one of those achievements and it comes at you in many different ways. We’ll cover most of them here:
For the lucky few, appointment to one of the service academies works out to a totally free 4 year college education with a guaranteed job at the end!
Then there are the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) where the military will pay for up to 4 years of college, provide a stipend and hire you upon graduation in exchange for taking special military training classes and committing to a summer cruise or tour with a military unit.
For the enlisted personnel, there are some great opportunities. The Air Force has the Community College of the Air Force where nearly every Airman can earn an Associate’s degree in their military specialty. Each of the other services has a dedicated office to explain the ways you can earn a degree while wearing a uniform and nearly every base has college course taught right on the station or very close to the main gate. Some colleges even offer courses leading to a Master’s degree on the base. The great thing about getting your education while wearing a uniform is that the military will pay for 100 percent of the tuition (up to $250 per semester hour) and all you have to pay for is books. The Navy even has a program where they bring college professors out to ships so that they can teach college courses while the ship is underway!
Once you get out of the service there is the GI Bill and the latest version of the GI Bill can be a major bonus to military service! Once you meet the qualifying service requirements and get an honorable discharge the Veteran’s Administration will pay for 100% of the instate tuition, up to $1000 annually for books and provide you with a living expense that is equal to what an married E-5 would get if stationed where you are going to school. While this can vary by quite a bit, it could be as high as $2128 monthly in Boston, MA to as low as $784 monthly in “no where in particular”.
Military service isn’t for everyone and they are very strict when it comes to meeting entry requirements. The work can be hard and under extreme conditions. It can also be dangerous. The rewards of service will last a lifetime and the rewards of an education will last a lifetime also. So make the best of it! Join the military, serve your country and get an education. It has worked for me. I spent 30 years in the Navy and earned 4 college degrees including a Master of Science and now that I’m out I’m using my GI Bill to get a PhD and it is great getting an education and not needing a single student loan!
It is no coincidence that the “greatest generation” who served in World War II who came home and went to college on the GI Bill ended up managing the greatest period of industrial growth this nation has ever seen. To serve now and then get that education could make you a part of the next “greatest generation!”